Introduction: Tin Plating and Tin Crystal Electroplating Made Easy Method for Art.

About: I am a part-time hobbyists biotechnologist with a photonics background. I also have a YouTube channel too. I work full time now.

Hello, do you want to know how to grow simple tin crystals on brass or copper pipes as art? I am going to show how to electroplate a simple tin salt onto copper pipes in a solution of tin (II) chloride and Potassium Hydroxide.

A power supply with adjustable voltages of 0-15 volts and 0-2 amps is highly recommended while a 9-volt phone battery charger could be used it is not adjustable and that is a key. For larger crystals voltages of 3 volts-10 volts, 0.90 amps for 25 minutes, then 50 minutes to grow bigger crystals as art.

You will need tin (II) chloride, Potassium or Sodium hydroxide, and tap water. Some copper pipes at different sizes or bronze can be used as art. I used smaller and bigger copper pieces for the tin crystal electroplating method.

Making crystals is difficult it requires around 20 g of tin chloride and 35 g of Potassium Hydroxide in 1 L of water Prefer if it is distilled due to other metal salts. The current must be higher 6 volts 1.2 amps for 50 minutes.

In the next part, I will explain the issue of KOH (Potassium hydroxide) reacting with air and CO2 to form Potassium carbonate leading to impurities.



Power supply 0-15 volts, 0-2 amps.

Scale (Jewelry Scale) 1000 g plus or Minus 0.001 g error.

Plastic spoons.

Beaker 1 L

Copper wire

Copper pipes of any size.

Tin chloride 99.99 percent pure.

Potassium Hydroxide 95-100 percent pure.

Optional: Distilled water.

Step 1: Preparing the Tin Solution and Electroplating Methods.

With a Jewelry, the scale weighs out approx 20 g of Tin (II) Chloride and put it into a 1 L beaker and weigh out 35 g of Potassium Hydroxide. Add 1 L of water and be careful it a corrosive solution that will get Hot. Stir with a plastic spoon.

Add the wires Negative from the adjustable power supply to the copper pipes and Positive to a wire (copper) to make sure they do not touch each other.

Plating requires 25 to 50 minutes and increasing the voltage to 7-10 volts and around 0.6 to 1 amp of current. Microcrystals of tin if done with (Fresh chemicals) will occur. Pure samples and higher voltage and current is key here.

Used tin chloride solution with Lye that makes K2CO3 that may make tin carbonate will interfere with your outcomes.

After the tin crystals have formed and dried you can use Urethane paint in a used pan, etc to apply to the crystals to protect them from air exposure and to harden them (making them less fragile.).

Tin chloride is bad for the environment and is toxic and corrosive. Potassium hydroxide is corrosive and bad for the environment. The waste done must be stored in Glass bottles and sent to an Eco center as hazardous waste.

Step 2: Thoughts of Electroplating With Tin Chloride and Lye.

Tin chloride and Lye at (20 g: 35 g) and pure samples and higher concentrations which would allow with a specific voltage and current produces a plate of tin plus tin crystals that can be epoxied or applied Urethane paint.

The urethane paint protects the tin crystals.

You may be able to get if you add more lye to an old sample of tin microcrystals of tin.